Have you ever stuck around and clung on to a May-December relationship even if you weren’t the happiest in it? It might have something to do with your self-esteem.
Researchers from the University of Waterloo recently conducted a study and found that when people have low self-esteem and are in an unhappy romantic relationship, they’re much less likely to open up about their complaints, because they’re afraid of having to face rejection. As a result, they ignore their unhappy feelings and remain in the relationship. In other words, if you have a low self-esteem, you’re more likely to keep quiet and stay in an unhappy May-December relationship just to avoid the confrontation that might come with having to address the problem.
According to the researchers, people with a negative self-concept often have serious doubts about how much their partner cares about them, which encourages them to use self-protective and avoidance behavior, like staying mum about a problem. But while you might think that keeping it to yourself is constructive for your May-December relationship, it can actually do a lot more harm than good.
Studies like this only emphasize the need for open communication, especially in a May-December relationship. Ignoring issues will only lead to more problems, and in a situation like that, it’s only a matter of time before one of you has had enough. We’re not saying that every time you’re mad you should storm up to your older man and fight it out, but it’s important to voice your feelings in a calm and mature way, and without being accusatory or placing blame. Just be honest about your feelings and that way, the two of you can talk it through together.
Nauert, R., “Low Self-Esteem Hinders Intimate Partner Communication,” PsychCentral web site, March 2, 2015; http://goo.gl/qVrTFx.